Summary: Sermon Six of a series
The Dead Church
Have you ever heard of the company that makes blank bumper stickers? They’re for people who don’t want to get involved and do not want to offend anyone. That is how we see many religious groups in our modern day. So called preachers place their voices on the airways, admitting that they do not deal with sin because they do not want to be negative. We are living in a wonderful day because we know that Jesus is coming soon. Yet we are living in a very dangerous and sad day, seeing many that seem to have a form of godliness, but are denying the power and principles of God’s ways.
In this section, we will look at the fifth church, the church in Sardis. Sardis was a city that was about thirty miles southeast of Thyatira. It was known as a great trade center of the world. It was s wealthy city. The Pactolus river that ran through it, was a gold bearing stream. It was an industrious city, as it was the greatest distributer of wool. At the same time, it was a wicked city. History tells us that the inhabitants were pleasure seeking and loose in their living. It is said that the name Sardis became a byword for slack and effiminate living. This church was not as persecuted as others prior. It was a complacent church. A. T. Robertson described it as "the city of Death," a city of softness and luxury, of apathy and immorality," I have not dealt with the prophetic applications of these churches, but want to put just a small portion in at this point of our study. In prophetic terms, it is believed that Thyatira represented the Dark ages, yet there was a remnant that was in that time frame. From that remnant of saved people came the Reformation. Now in Sardis, it represented the time that entered into the Reformation. The world was changing. A new study of the Bible began with the invention of the printing press. A few, the remnant, stood in opposition to the false doctrines of the Jezebels of the dark age of Thyatira. Yet it fell short of what could have been achieved.
It is an historical fact, that the church of the reformation boasted of Orthodoxy and out of it came great understandings of Bible doctrines. Many began to reveal truth, thought their doctrines were tainted. Even today, some of the doctrines that came out of this time of history has caused confusion. They had a name, yet carnality and looseness was common, therefore the "orthodoxy" of that day was dead!
Complacency saps energy and dulls attitudes. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are. The second is rejection of things as they might be. "Good enough" becomes today’s watchword and tomorrow’s standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course, downhill. Mankind is unstable as water. We naturally follow the path of least resistance and without Christ, will end up at the lowest point. A dead orthodoxy lead to dead religion.
This was a message from the Redeemer. John was penning the words, but they were from God. He is the God that has the seven Spirits. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one God. They have always been, evermore shall be, and always are one. Seven is the number of completion, and this is the fulfillment of Christ having the fulness of the Spirit of God upon him. John Gill said that this represented, “the fulness and perfection of the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God.” God is one, yet is manifested to us in three persons, or offices. Seven Spirits speaks of the fullness of the Spirit of God. The seven fold fullness of the Spirit of God that rests upon Jesus is found in Isaiah 11:2-3. It says, “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD); And shall make him of quick understanding ) in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.” It was prophesied that the Spirit would rest upon the Messiah . This was a permanent resting that will not just come upon Him, but was there eternally. There are seven things that relate between the Spirit and the Messiah in this prophecy. There is wisdom, understanding (discernment), counsel, mighty strength, knowledge, the fear of the Lord (that which demands reverence). The seventh attribute says the Spirit would “make him of quick understanding” The word “understanding” interestingly is translated “smell” eight times in the Old Testament. It literally means that the seventh work of the Spirit was to make Him of sweet aroma to others. What a great association of the Rose of Sharon. We will not be the church we should be without the Fulness of the Spirit of God